Parents' Guide to

Beyond the Burning Time

By Jennifer Docherty, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fascinating, graphic look at Salem witch trials.

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BEYOND THE BURNING TIME is a fascinating look at the Salem witch trials. Lasky excerpts much of her material from sermons, trial testimonies, and contemporary histories, cleverly blending fact and fiction. Her fictional characters are skillfully conceived and believable. Many readers will identify with Mary Chase, someone apart from the hysteria who struggles to understand the motivations of the young women and the townspeople supporting them.

The novel is packed with scenes of searing emotional intensity. When Mary views a hanging for the first time or when Virginia Chase tells her children to abandon her and save themselves, the scenes draw the reader in as a witness to these painful events. Ultimately, Mary becomes immersed in this culture of violence and tells her brother, "I will scratch. I will cut. I will stab. I will kill to find out where Mother is and save her." Though her response is certainly believable, it may disturb younger readers. This point aside, Lasky's novel is a riveting read that even many reluctant readers will find hard to put down.

Book Details

  • Author: Kathryn Lasky
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Pointe Pubs
  • Publication date: January 1, 1994
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 14
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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